The Note: Mountain Hazard

The AP's Jim Kuhnhenn unpacks some of the legal burdens that will impact any Clinton effort to repay her loans to her campaign. "Hillary Rodham Clinton will have to deal with her campaign's more than $20 million debt -- a step that could test her relationship with Barack Obama and raise new issues in campaign finance law," he writes.

"Among her options is transferring that debt to her Senate campaign committee and paying it off with contributions to her 2012 re-election effort. But, for the short term, many Democrats believe the answer lies with Obama and his vast network of contributors."

(Who wants to pony up to make sure Mark Penn is paid in full?)

There's a deadline: "A 2002 campaign-finance law bars candidates who drop out of the presidential race from collecting more than $250,000 after their party's conventions to recoup personal loans," per USA Today's Fredreka Schouten. "If Clinton doesn't raise the cash by the time Democrats meet Aug. 25-28 in Denver, her $11 million in campaign loans could become donations to her campaign."

McCain and the Pastor

Pastor John Hagee is apologizing -- sort of -- for his colorful remarks about the Catholic Church. Hagee wrote a letter saying "he now knew the terms he used to describe the church, such as 'the great whore,' were 'rhetorical devices long employed in anti-Catholic literature,' " Maeve Reston writes in the Los Angeles Times. (Who might have delivered that shocking news?)

"The letter was issued after weeks of conversations between Mr. Hagee and Roman Catholic Republicans about repairing the damage to Mr. McCain's campaign and the alliance built over many years between conservative Catholics and evangelicals," Laurie Goodstein writes in The New York times. "Mr. McCain said Tuesday that he had not been involved in brokering the apology letter from Mr. Hagee, a megachurch pastor in San Antonio who broadcasts to 200 countries, but that he found it 'a laudable thing.' "

Et Cetera:

What does Hollywood do? Variety's Ted Johnson sees a new Left Coast power center emerging if Obama captures the nomination: "His ascendancy signals a shift to a different and relatively younger pool of fund-raisers and donors, altering the industry's center of political gravity as to who hosts events, who has access to the candidate and the top campaign players, and who commands the time and attention," Johnson writes.

"If Obama is the victor, it will set off a delicate dance to bring the Clinton team into the fold," Johnson writes. Hollywood is clear-eyed -- for la-la land, naturally: "There is a sense of reality settling in, that it will be really hard for her to pull this one out. But they are not giving up," said Marge Tabankin, executive director of the Streisand Foundation.

Matt Bai has a fascinating New York Times Magazine take on McCain's foreign policy coming Sunday, focusing on this key insight connecting the dots from Vietnam to Iraq: "McCain is the outlier. Among his fellow combat veterans in the Senate, past and present, he is the only one who has continued to champion the war in Iraq," Bai writes. "There is a feeling among some of McCain's fellow veterans that his break with them on Iraq can be traced, at least partly, to his markedly different experience in Vietnam."

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